Debates 2020

Democratic Candidates Agree—Let's Get Out of Afghanistan

Sen. Warren: "The problems in Afghanistan are not problems that can be solved by the military."


The Democrats fighting for the presidential nomination may be continuing to debate over the contours of healthcare and trade policies, but they all expressed agreement tonight in getting the troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Five of the candidates were asked tonight about the military situation in Afghanistan, given President Donald Trump's recent aborted peace talks with representatives of the Taliban. They didn't really get into Trump's proposal, but they all made it abundantly clear that they want to bring our troops home and end 18 years of war.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) was asked first if she would bring troops home even though military advisers and generals are concerned about what would happen to Afghanistan's stability if the troops were to leave. She was clear that her intention was to pull out.

"What we're doing right now in Afghanistan is not helping the safety and security of the country," Warren said. "We need to bring our troops home.…We are not going to bomb our way to a solution with Afghanistan.…The problems in Afghanistan are not problems that can be solved by the military. We need to work with the rest of the world."

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a Naval Reserve veteran who was deployed in Afghanistan in 2014, reiterated his position from the July debate that he would bring the troops home within a year of taking office. He noted, that there are now people who were born after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks who are now old enough to join the military.

"The best way not to get caught up in endless wars is to not start them in the first place," he said. He also repeated his proposal that all future congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) resolutions should have an automatic three-year sunset to prevent future "forever wars."

Former Vice President Joe Biden was asked if it was a mistake for former President Barack Obama's administration to pull back troops from Iraq, given that it created a vacuum for the Islamic State to exploit. He gave a blunt word salad of a response where he acknowledged it was a mistake for him to have voted in favor of the AUMF to invade Iraq but essentially laid the blame on the Bush administration for not having a plan. He also agreed with the other candidates to get out of Afghanistan.

"It cannot be put together," he said. "It will not be put together.…We don't need those troops there and I would bring them home." He called for keeping military bases in Pakistan that can be used as needed to respond to any threats that Afghanistan might still present.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) prodded at Biden a bit because, unlike Biden, he voted against military action overseas. Sanders also reminded voters he has voted against the last three military budgets and wants to bring the troops home.

"I don't think we have to spend $750 billion on the military when we don't even know who our enemy is," Sanders said.

And finally, Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur, was asked to explain what would make him a good commander in chief of the military. He said he signed a pledge to end "the forever wars."

"We have to start owning what we can and can't do," Yang said. "The goal has to be to rebuild the relationships that made America strong."

So the three front-runners (and Yang and Buttigieg) all say they will bring the troops home. That's good news. The bad news is that Obama and Trump also promised to end the wars and bring the troops home.

NEXT: Beto O'Rourke: 'Hell Yes, We're Going To Take Your AR-15'

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  1. My favorite part is when multiple democrats said tonight they would reduce medical costs in Medicaid for all by reducing market inefficiencies through government control.

    1. Do they really believe their bullshit?

      1. They probably actually do. There is a wide streak of people who actually believe that government is more efficient than the open market. And in a sense. they have a point. A single set of decisions can be ‘more efficient’ than a widely various set of reactions to market incentives. But that set of central plans has to be the correct one…and the odds are not good. No central planning authority has managed to react as quickly as the market does, because the central authority quickly gets caught up in the necessity of not making a BAD plan. Making a bad play might cost it power. So it hesitates, and debates, and demands more data…and the moment passes.

  2. The bad news is that Obama and Trump also promised to end the wars and bring the troops home.

    Who knew tar pits were so hard to crawl out of?

    Warren’s the one I’d have to ask about her response – all the experts are insisting we need to keep a presence in Afghanistan, don’t you trust experts? You sure do seem to trust them a lot for everything else. Or do you just think you’re a better expert than the experts, that you know more about the military than the generals as a certain Captain Bone In My Foot claimed?

    1. Hey, what’s that supposed to mean? I have a bone in my foot, multiple actually.

      1. “I can’t come into work today, boss – I have a bone in my foot.”

        It’s a catch-all lame-ass excuse that doesn’t even pretend to be an excuse.

  3. “Let’s move most of our armies from Afghanistan to Yakutsk. Then we can beat Putin unless he gets a really lucky dice roll.”

    1. I vote for a defensive strategy based upon taking Australia and building a defensive line in Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

  4. It seems an odd time for all blue team members to suddenly embrace – Trump’s position on Afghanistan.

    1. They realize that Trump is out doveing them and their warnings a out him starting WWIII out of spite look less then prophetic. They’re used to labeling the GOP as warmongers and are scared that they may now be seen as bigger Hawks then the current GOP president.

      1. Indeed. Want are these faggotry losers going t run on? Trump is already looking for the door in Afghanistan. They can’t run on the economy. Gun confiscation will be a huge loser for them. They have no ideas in trade.

        So what do they have to offer? Open borders and race baiting?

  5. The thing is, our response to 9/11 should have been; wreck the government of Afghanistan (because they were where the attack originated) and Iraq (because Saddam never met the terms of surrender from the last war), and then LEAVE.

    Yes, an argument could be made that Saudi Arabia was at least as involved as Afghanistan. We don’t want a fight that would look like we wanted Mecca. We want quick, nasty object lessons on what happens when you don’t keep the squirrel food from annoying us. “Keep the nuts at home, or the Marines might come calling”.

    The country wasn’t temperamentally prepared for that. Bush wasn’t willing to risk the reaction if he did that. So we tried ‘Nation Building’, which might work if, like the British in India, we were prepared to stay for several centuries.

  6. “The bad news is that Obama and Trump also promised to end the wars and bring the troops home.”

    That’s because they immediately get flack from the Congress and the pundits. I want an end to these war and I will support leaving. If people like me support the President’s decision it will get done. Make no mistake bad things will happen when we leave. It will be like Vietnam and we will have to accept taking in people who supported us. There will be power struggles and bad people may come to power for a time. I don’t believe we can prevent this. We are really only postponing it now. History tells us that few wars end well.

  7. yea it’s about time the US military left those poor people alone
    درمان اضطراب بدون دارو

  8. If only they had said the same to Obama, especially after Bin Laden was dead.

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